Palo Alto, Calif., September 27, 2010 — The Electric Power Research Institute said that the U.S. Department of Energy has selected its cybersecurity collaborative to assess and develop technologies, best practices, metrics and standards to protect the U.S. electric sector against cyber attacks.
The DOE‘s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the collaborative will negotiate a funding level for the public-private research initiative.
The participants bring diverse experience in technology, business, standards and policy. It was among 10 cybersecurity initiatives representing an investment of more than $30 million that was announced in Washington, D.C. by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Among the collaboratives’ tasks are: assessing requirements and results developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, North American Electric Reliability Corp., and other organizations; reviewing power system and cybersecurity standards in meeting power system security requirements; and, testing grid security technologies protocols using laboratories and pilot projects.
“It is essential that we protect the power system from cyber attacks,” said Arshad Mansoor, EPRI’s vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization. “The goal is to create a system that enhances the national grid, and especially to buttress its security and integrity.”
The selection of the EPRI collaborative is part of a long-term program that will ultimately lead to the creation of a National Electric Sector Cyber Organization (NESCO).
This federal government-electric sector partnership will analyze the cybersecurity status of the nation’s transmission and distribution systems as smart grid technologies are incorporated to enable a low-carbon future.
“The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) brings knowledge gained from six years of cybersecurity vulnerability assessments on grid architectures in the energy sector,” said Rita Wells, energy sector lead of the Critical Infrastructure Protection & Defense Systems of the lab, a collaborative participant. “Emerging smart grid technologies are challenging traditional security and functional boundaries, and this is requiring us to pursue new approaches to cybersecurity.”
Up to $10 million is expected to be available over three years to establish NESCO, fund research and development, and set up administrative and operational functions. It is expected that NESCO will become self-sustaining within the three years, using key findings from the collaborative.
“This collaborative effort will play a critical role in addressing cybersecurity for the nation’s grid”, said Sami Ayyorgun, senior scientist at Telcordia Technologies. “Our decades of experience in cybersecurity, communications and networking will be critical to the project’s success.”
The EPRI-led collaborative comprises Enernex, Flowers CCS, Xanthus Consulting International, N-Dimension, Palo Alto Research Center, SRI, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Sandia National Lab, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Telcordia, University of Houston, Mladen Kezunovic (Texas A&M University), University of Minnesota Smart Grid consortium (including Adventium Labs and Honeywell), UCLA, UC Berkeley, Inguardians, and Arc Technical. Siemens and ABB are serving in industry advisory role in the collaborative.